By Gin Miller
Start with Basic Walking
CNN House Call’s Summer Walking Workout is a great way to get fit fast. All you need is a great pair of walking shoes, a wristwatch and permission from your doctor to get started. Before you begin this workout, you should be able to walk comfortably for 30 minutes without stopping.
Good technique includes standing tall, rolling from your heel through your toe, pushing off your forefoot, and pumping your arms close to your sides at about 10 and 2 o’clock. Take a bottle of water and a hand towel in case you perspire. If you are not able to walk 30 minutes continuously, simply build your base–start today with a 10 minute walk, and then gradually increase your walking duration 2-5 minutes each time you walk. Continue to increase your walking time until you can walk the entire 30 minutes, (about 1-4 weeks), without stopping. Now you’re ready to start our interval-walking program outlined for you below.
Faster (Interval) Walking
Each interval workout, (see below), starts with a 10 minute warm-up that includes strolling and stretching, making sure that the first 3-5 minutes of walking are slower than your steady walking pace. To test yourself, after a 10 minute warm up, pick up the pace for at least 10-30 seconds. If you don’t have a watch, choose a point 100 yards in the distance and walk towards it. How do you feel? Can you manage 4 or five more 30-second segments? To increase your walking speed, bend your arms so the elbows form a 90-degree angle. Then pump them at a faster pace than your usual walking motion. Take a shorter stride and your legs will keep pace with your arms. Interval Walking (IW), are bouts of faster walking periods, followed by a recovery or resting walk. Interval walking can be quite a bit faster than your normal pace, (if you really want to push it, walk as fast as you can manage for the duration of the interval). Every faster interval you do benefits your body more than ordinary walking. As you walk faster, your body responds immediately. For instance, your heart will beat faster indicating a higher demand for oxygen. This strengthens your heart and increases your blood flow. You’ll work your muscles harder and develop new muscle fiber. You’ll burn calories faster. You’ll boost your fitness by teaching your body to hold a faster pace.
After 30 seconds of fast walking, relax and walk at a steady stroll for a full minute. This is called your recovery interval. Walk slowly, allowing your breathing to return to normal, and then speed up for another 30 seconds. That’s it– Spring Into Fitness Interval Walking Workout. Repeat this pattern as often as you like. (Just a reminder, the recovery interval should be about twice as long as your walking interval). After you’ve completed your Interval Walking Workout, remember to cool down for approximately 10 minutes with stretches for calves, shin muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps and low back.
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